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Since this car is so unbelievably quiet, one tends to hear more sounds from parts of the car that you normally don't hear. I've noticed that when backing out of a space, you can really hear the slight groan of the power steering. Is this a common complaint, or should I have it checked out?

Thanks in advance!
 

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I've noticed a kind of groaning sound when turning on a couple of occasions. I suspect it was very mild tire slip that probably happens in every car all the time when cornering with a bit of g force, but other cars drown it out with mechanical noises.
 

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It is electro-hydraulic. Toyota first used this type of steering on the MR2's in the 1980's/90's.. I have noticed strange sounds at low speeds too, but I do not have any shimmying or anything so I put in in "normal" category. The first time I heard it I was concerned, but it does not happen to often.

Sometimes too if you get dirt buildup on the chrome struts the wiper seals inside of the steering rack that clean the dirt/debris off will make noise. I know this from rebuilding hydraulic bits for aircraft. That is partially the other reason it did not worry me to much when the steering feels normal. If you do notice any type of play in the steering though I would get it looked at, but till then I would disregard it.
 

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I hear similar sounds, its just the hydraulics doing there thing

And your right, being so quite makes ANY sound noticeable!
The Volt's power steering is electric... Not hydraulic.
It is electro-hydraulic. Toyota first used this type of steering on the MR2's in the 1980's/90's.. I have noticed strange sounds at low speeds too, but I do not have any shimmying or anything so I put in in "normal" category. The first time I heard it I was concerned, but it does not happen to often.

Sometimes too if you get dirt buildup on the chrome struts the wiper seals inside of the steering rack that clean the dirt/debris off will make noise. I know this from rebuilding hydraulic bits for aircraft. That is partially the other reason it did not worry me to much when the steering feels normal. If you do notice any type of play in the steering though I would get it looked at, but till then I would disregard it.
It's not electro-hydraulic either. It's pure electric motorized assist on a mechanical steering gear. I suspect if you are hearing anything when turning it might be a small amount of motor noise...
WOT
 

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So you are telling me there is no power steering fluid or anything? Just an electric motor on the rack to assist? That would be pretty cool if that is what you mean.
It is described as "electric" power steering in the specifications. Looking at the rack unit I can find no evidence of a filling hole for any fluid. It does appear to be a self contained electric power assisted rack & pinion unit.
 

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It is electro-hydraulic.
Not sure where yo get that info. All if the specifications say it is electric. The Owners manual on page 10-24 says: The vehicle is equipped with an electric power steering system. No fluid or general maintenance is required." There are no holes for putting fluid into. I do NOT believe this is an electro-hydraulic unit.
 

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I had a modest 'squeak' a few months after I got my Volt. It had to be within my 3 months of XM because that is when I noticed it. I pulled into the garage and XM went out and when I did my last little turning I heard it. Not that big of deal but I was getting my rooms trim/molding fixed anyway and had them look at it. Turned out to be where the "rod" goes through the firewall that there was some connection "ball". Apparently the lube wore off or there was limited amount from the factory. They lubed it and it the problem went away. Sorry for the vagueness. Likely not be the same because it was not a 'groan' to me but a small squeak. Never really noticed it with the radio on.
 

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So you are telling me there is no power steering fluid or anything? Just an electric motor on the rack to assist? That would be pretty cool if that is what you mean.
that is correct sir!
WOT
 

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I will be the first to admit I pulled the electro-hydraulic steering info from my hind end... I never knew you could directly couple a motor to the rack. I always thought there was a pump spinning all the time. That is certaintly cool to know.

Back when I had Fiero's I did a lot of research on this stuff. After putting an LT-1 in the 85' I got the itch to put power steering in it. So at the time (early 2000's) that was about the only options so never really considered there being anything else under the hood of the Volt. Just goes to show how much engineering they did do on this car. I know myself I would have just used already off the shelf tried and true parts. I guess this does explain the sort of heavy steering feel though (which I like).
 

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The steering system is indeed a rack-and-pinion system with the (beefy) electric assist motor on the end of the rack. An inline force sensor is on the steering column sending the information to steering ECS. I was able to tour the ZF Steering plant in Northern Kentucky (10 minutes from my house!) and see the system from start to finish and it is totally amazing. From the first mile I drove my Volt I suspected there was some seriously awesome steering engineering involved and after the tour I realized I was right.

It was great to see the fail-safe aspects to the system and learn some of the programming nuances they incorporated in to the ECS. Something that I learned from the tour is ZF was chosen because they make the best and not necessarily the cheapest (like Delphi?). It was refreshing to hear that GM is willing to spend the extra to get reliable parts.
 

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but if it creaks

Mine developed a... sproing? when turning the wheel, which ended up requiring replacement of the upper strut mounts. It wasn't exactly a creak- it sounded a bit like a spring resonating. A somewhere between a creak and a sproing!
 

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Groaning sound occurred on my Volt too

Took it in yesterday as the sound from the steering became louder. (Sound was fairly quiet but noticeable).

Will be getting springs and struts replaced under warranty next week when the parts arrive.

By the way, the service department at Ivan Leonard Chevy in Hoover, AL has been great.

The gas guzzling Tahoe I got for the day used more gas in the 16 miles I drove, than I used in the last 6 weeks of driving my Volt. I'm never going back to an ICE only vehicle as my daily driver.

Cheers,
 
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